Porn checks DELAYED: Government pushes back online verification rules | Tech | Life & Style

The UK Government has delayed plans to enforce mandatory age checks on all pornographic content onlineGETTY

The UK Government has delayed plans to enforce mandatory age checks on all online pornography

Controversial plans to force all UK citizens to verify their age before accessing pornographic content have been delayed.

The changes were tipped to roll-out next month when the Digital Economy Act – the law that mandates obligatory online age checks inside the UK – comes into effect.

However, this has now been pushed back, with the Government saying it needs more time to work on the proper implementation of the checks.

In the UK, viewers need to be over the age of 18 to view pornographic material.

Website owners who do not implement the new age-checks will be charged up to £250,000 in fines.

The Government now says it will have a solution in place by the end of the year.

“Our priority is to make the internet safer for children and we believe this is best achieved by taking time to get the implementation of the policy right,” a press release read.

“We will therefore allow time for the BBFC as regulator to undertake a public consultation on its draft guidance which will be launched later this month.”

AgeID is one of the solutions available to content creators online AGEID

AgeID is one of the solutions available to content creators online

Once the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) publishes its guidelines, the Government will give it three months to implement them before the laws go into effect..

The Government is not building the age verification software itself.

Instead, it will allow the pornography industry to introduce its own age-checks.

Several software developers are working on tools for online adult content providers to meet the new requirements.

MindGeek, the technology company behind a slew of hugely-successful online pornography sites – including Pornhub, RedTube, and YouPorn, has already unveiled the default gatekeeping tool for its sites in the UK.

The online system, dubbed AgeID, will ask any visitors to the adult website to create an encrypted login to verify their age.

AgeID will be synced across any compatible sites, meaning users will not need to go through the checks each time they visit a different adult website.

MindGeek has confirmed that AgeID will use third-party age verification companies to check those trying to create a login.

AgeID has multiple third parties covering such methods as a credit card, mobile SMS, passport and driving licence.


We have created a tool to comply with the impending UK legislation, which both protects children from stumbling across adult content, and enables those of legal age to securely and privately access adult websites through a one-time verification process

James Clark, AgeID


When the regulations around which age verification methods will be compliant with the law make their way through parliament and are published, AgeID will adapt the relevant tools into its software.

James Clark, AgeID spokesperson, said: “We have created a tool to comply with the impending UK legislation, which both protects children from stumbling across adult content, and enables those of legal age to securely and privately access adult websites through a one-time verification process.”

MindGeek has promised its AgeID system does not store any personal information on its users.

Instead, the verification system only keeps “standard technical data” to prevent fraud as well as that protected login.

The AgeID technology will be available to every pornographic platform available inside the UK.

According to the announcement, AgeID will be free for independent UK porn studios, producers and bloggers, although there will be a flat-fee for others to implement the system, depending on their volume of web traffic inside the UK.

Great Britain isn’t the first county to implement AgeID. The online verification system has been in use in Germany since 2015.

However, implementing the system developed by MindGeek does raise some troublesome questions about the amount of regulatory power being handed to a single, private company.

AgeChecked is another solution being developed to help users verify their age before accessing adult content online.

AgeChecked is a legally compliant system that uses passports, credit card details, driving licences and other information to verify a person’s age.

To gain access to a restricted website, users just need to sign in with their AgeChecked account – which they get once their age is verified.

Data on the passport or driving licence used to verify a person’s age is not stored once the account is set up.

Forcing porn sites to perform age verification checks was a manifesto promise made by the ConservativesGETTY

Forcing porn sites to perform age checks was a manifesto promise made by the Conservatives

Alastair Graham, CEO of AgeChecked, said: “With the Digital Economy Act coming into force as early as April 2018, online businesses need to give serious consideration as to how they are age checking their customers.

“A simply tick box stating that they are over 18 is just not going to cut it.

“This is why we have developed AgeChecked to give site owners a genuine, legally-compliant method of guaranteeing that those trying to access age restricted content are the correct age.

“The Government is cracking down on age verification – there have been changes to how knives can be bought online, and now adult content will be subject to stringent age checks – so businesses really can’t afford to ignore the law, otherwise they could be facing huge fines and other punitive measures.”

Critics argue the UK Government’s plan is badly thought-through.

The Open Rights Group has previously warned the Digital Economy Act could lead to porn companies being required to create a database of what everyone has watched.

And experts fear such a database could be targeted by cyber criminals looking to blackmail those on it.

Open Rights Group Executive Director Jim Killock said: “Age verification could lead to porn companies building databases of the UK’s porn habits, which could be vulnerable to Ashley Madison style hacks.

“The Government has repeatedly refused to ensure that there is a legal duty for age verification providers to protect the privacy of web users.”


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